search icon

Financial accounting and statements: What you need to know

Understanding financial accounting and statements is crucial to keep your business financially healthy and growing.

What is financial accounting?

Financial accounting is the aggregate of your accounting data that details the finances of an entire business that is meant to be shared externally as well as internally. Financial accounting is typically reported at given time periods over the financial year (quarterly) that are shared externally to detail the overall performance of a business via official financial statements.

Why is financial accounting important?

Financial accounting is essential in evaluating and detailing the overall value of a business by reporting on its profit or loss, and the valuation of its assets and liabilities over a specific financial time period.

It's reported via official financial statements that are shared both internally and publicly to inform current and prospective stakeholders of the current financial performance of a business. This in turn has a huge impact on the official valuation of a business, and is bound by law to specific regulations, and it’s why financial accounting must be precise.

How is financial accounting different from accounting?

There are several key differences. Whereas financial accounting details overall financial performance of an entire business and is meant to be shared externally with the public, accounting (aka managerial accounting or bookkeeping) is the recording, tracking, and reconciling of business transactional data that can be drilled down into great detail and is only shared internally within a business-never externally.

The two fields even have different certifications: Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are trained in financial accounting, while Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are trained in managerial accounting/bookkeeping.

Furthermore, financial accounting is focused on overall financial performance of an entire business, and has specific standards and legal regulations that CPAs must adhere to in reporting official financial statements. On the other hand, accounting is operations-focused to determine where, when, why, and how credits come into and debits exit the business.

There are no set regulations on bookkeeping, however there are certainly best practices and methods in order to keep accounting data accurate.

What are the different types of financial statements?

There are four different types of financial statements:

Balance sheets are formal reports that provide a snapshot of the sum of a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholder equity for a given reporting period. Ideally, a company is financially healthy if its assets are equal to or “balance” the sum of its liabilities and shareholder equity.

Income statements detail the revenue a business earns less the operating costs and expenses to provide the net profit or losses over a given financial reporting period. If a company has shareholders, Earnings Per Share (EPS) are also reported within income statements, and detail how much money shareholders would receive if a business were to disburse earnings to shareholders over that time period.

Cash flow statements report the inflows and outflows of cash during a given financial reporting period. This details the net increase or decrease in cash generated, and helps in determining whether a business has enough cash on hand to cover expenses and purchase assets. Cash flow statements typically consist of the cash flow data of operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities.

Statements of shareholders’ equity simply details the retained earnings of a business over a given financial reporting period and is included in the company balance sheet. The retained earnings refers to the profit or loss of a company at the beginning and the end of the reporting period detailed in the statement.

The right financial accounting software can help grow your business

Sage Accounting includes all the tools and features you need to execute financial accounting functions with precision.

Get organized, effortlessly

Stay on top of your paperwork. Connect your bank feed and accurately and automatically import and categorize transactional data into your books. Stop wasting time and energy on admin, and spend more time focused on understanding and growing your business.

  • Leverage AutoEntry to automate document capture accurately.
  • Setup automated bank feeds to keep your books updated in real time.
  • Easily set up bank rules to automatically categorize transactions.

Get paid quickly

Stay in the black with healthy cashflow with automatic invoicing, including providing an easy method for clients to pay electronically right on the invoice. No more chasing down clients for payments.

  • Create professional, custom, ad-free invoices from anywhere.
  • ‘Pay Now’ button for your clients convenience directly on the invoice.
  • Automatically send recurring invoices.
  • Invoice tracking notifications and alerts so you’re always in the know.

Get insights and increase profitability

Make informed decisions with real-time insights. Customizable dashboards show you exactly what you want to know and give you financial snapshots so you can take control of key business decisions.

  • See money-in/money-out and track cashflow.
  • Customize dashboards to suit your business-specific KPIs.
  • Quickly and easily define timelines, view budgets vs actuals and export to Excel.
  • Add unlimited users so everyone is in the know.

Get tax and compliance right

Taxes don’t have to be complicated. Organize all your data in one place so you or your accountant can calculate precise tax payments.

  • Eliminate sudden surprises with accurate future tax payment estimates
  • All data and documents in one secure place for simple, fast, accurate GST submissions.
  • Your data is always secure and backed up regularly.

Financial accounting software FAQs

Financial accounting software is a program that organizes, syncs, and automates accounting and bookkeeping processes for financial businesses. Sage Accounting is a type of cloud-based accounting software that works from anywhere with an internet connection. Use it to work on your books and manage cash flow. It will help you track income and expenses while spending less time on financial admin.

Financial accounting software backs up all of your transactions safely and securely to the cloud. That way, you don't have to worry about any painful upgrades or updates and can work from the office or at home. It also simplifies collaborating with your team and your accountant

Financial accounting software is a computer program or online application for recording income and expenses and reconciling transactions in a business bank account. It's designed for collaborating closely with an accountant. Sage Accounting is an example of financial accounting software.

Financial services accounting software like Sage Accounting works by connecting to your business bank account and automatically importing and categorizing transactions, per your specified customizations. With your account data synced with Sage Accounting, you can generate powerful insights and present them with sleek, easy-to-read reports to make the best decisions for your financial services company.

Sage Advice for financial service companies

Read articles, reports and blog posts to get the latest on financial accounting.

Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Story: Clyde Harris

Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Story: Clyde Harris

When I was first tasked with interviewing accountants and bookkeepers in Canada as part of my role at Sage, I was forewarned that the Canadian stakeholders of this industry truly acted as a community. Whether it’s finding the right referral through a network to help a client in need, or to help colleagues navigate some […]

Read More Read More
Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A - Jennifer Desiar

Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A - Jennifer Desiar

Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession. I love Math, basic Math though lol! I am a graduate with a double major of BS Commerce in management and accounting in the Philippines. After graduating from college, I was employed as an accounting assistant. Life is hard in […]

Read More Read More
The Ultimate Checklist to End and Begin Your Business Year

The Ultimate Checklist to End and Begin Your Business Year

Business life is a rollercoaster. You are up one moment and down the next. Covid-19 curve balls haven’t helped to fuel our productivity or manage our priorities. This year has brought constant change and required a lot of adapting. It is important that we take care of personal, professional and financial goals with ample planning. […]

Read More Read More
Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A Christine Hontoy

Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A Christine Hontoy

Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession. I had finished my CEGEP, but I did not know which major field to study heading to university. So, I decided to stay an extra year in college and enrolled in various classes like politics, economy, art history and accounting, […]

Read More Read More
Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A - Emmanuel Lucas

Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A - Emmanuel Lucas

Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession. 1975, Paris: I started at a young age by doing petty cash accounting by making rolls of change. Already at five years old, my interest in balancing things was already present. Hence my future vocation as an accountant and, for […]

Read More Read More
Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A: Shelley Rudiger

Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A: Shelley Rudiger

Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession. I have been so blessed to have chosen this career almost out of the gate, it has been 36 years and I have never looked back.  I truly think that this career chose me as I was attending an agricultural […]

Read More Read More
Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A: Debrah Burleigh

Sage Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A: Debrah Burleigh

Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession. When I was a child, my dream was to be a veterinarian. I got a job doing bookkeeping to pay for college to be a vet. Sometimes you must forget what you’re supposed to be to uncover what you were […]

Read More Read More
Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A - Laurie Rauk

Circle of Excellence Winner Q&A - Laurie Rauk

Tell us about your career up until now, starting with why you chose this profession. I chose a career in accounting when, a few years out of university, I had an entry level office position that included general administration work as well as some basic bookkeeping. I really liked the accounting aspect so started taking […]

Read More Read More
  1. Offer valid for new customers only on monthly subscriptions of Sage Business Cloud Accounting. Discounted subscription rate is only for the first three (3) months after which the monthly subscription rate will renew at the then current rate. May not be combined with any other offers or discounts. To ensure continuous service your subscription plan is an automatically renewing plan. Subsequent months will automatically be billed to the same credit card each month on your anniversary date of purchase. You may terminate the plan at any time prior to your renewal data and not be charged for the renewal.
  2. Start your free trial and receive 1 month free, then $14 or $30 /mo (tier depending).
  3. Payment Evolution is a third-party app that would require additional usage fees.
  4. Snap and upload data from unlimited receipts, invoices, and supplier statements with AutoEntry. 50% off your first 3 months. Accounting only.